Time Magazine Article, 1932, on Philip Alexius de Laszlo
(Frontpage (Thumbnail Index)  (more on Philip Alexius de Laszlo)
Every Court But China
Time Magazine
Volume XIX Number 4 (January 25, 1932), pp. 26-28 

(Editor's note - Paragraph breaks added and marked with [p] to give readability) 

President Hoover, said Painter Philip Alexius Laszlo de Lombos, seemed to be "an all-around man;" Mrs. Hoover he "like enormously," and praised for being "a wonderful Mistress of the White House." Nor were these the only compliments which Painter de Laszlo last week paid Mr. & Mrs. Hoover. [p] 

He had just hurried to finish their portraits - a three quarter length study of the  President; a smaller sketch, done as a surprise for her husband, of Mrs. Hoover - so that he would be able to get them into his loan exhibition of portraits, admission proceeds of which were for the Emergency Unemployment Relief Fund, at Knoedler's Galleries, Manhattan.  

In order to have your portrait painted by de Laszlo it is advisable to have a firm and masterful face if you are a man, an expression of graciously patrician elegance if you are a woman. This will make it simpler for Painter de Laszlo to inject these qualities into his portraiture, but they are by no means the only requirement for being a de Laszlo subject. [p] 

You will also need $14,000 if you want a really first-rate product, full-length, executed with all the Sargentesque splendor at his command. For $10,000 you can have a neat three-quarter-length affair, much on the order of the Hoover portrait which de Laszlo finished last week. For $3,000 he may consent to do a sketch, a little like the one of Mrs. Hoover, warm, sympathetic and technically graceful, but without much detail. Naturally, these qualifications are likely to belong to notables. [p] 

Last week's show, like all de Laszlo's exhibitions, was an imposing concordance of Who's Who and the Social Register, a tribute to the eminence of de Laszlo sitters and his ability to do them justice.  

The Hoover portrait, of course, attracted most attention. Erased from the President's face were lines of strain and worry. Painter de Laszlo showed him in majestic mood, narrowed slightly by a a becoming shadow, equipped with the dignity which Presidents so frequently require. His hands were white and soft upon his lap. [p] 

On Mrs. Hoover's kind face matronly warmth was mingled with, but did not infringe upon, a hauteur fitting for her station. Other faces on the walls - solemn Andrew William Mellon, wise Elihu Root, martial John Joseph Pershing, temperate Frank Billings Kellogg - made it apparent that the distinction of appearing in a de Laszlo canvas could only be surpassed by that of appearing on a postage stamp. King Fuad of Egypt was painted from the side, against a tan background which suggested deserts, with a black cloak wrapped around his neck and en expression of monarchical preoccupation. Socialites - who compose the majority of Painter de Laszlo's subjects - included Mrs. David Bruce, Mrs. James B. Duke, Mrs. Harvey S. Firestone, Jr., Miss Hope Iselin, Mrs. Ogden L. Mills, Anne Morgan, and Mrs. Jesse Isidor Straus.  

One of the portraits in last week's show was of a dark and spectacularly one-eyed Hungarian nobleman, Count Laszlo Szechenyi. Count Laszlo Szechenyi is no relative of Painter de Laszlo who was humbly born at Budapest in 1869. After a few years in Budapest Industrial Art School, he stopped doing things humbly. At 25 he was summoned from Paris to the summer palace of Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria to paint the Archbishop Gregorius. His portraits of the Archbishop, the Prince, and his wife, gave his work the cachet it needed. [p] 

Since then he has immortalized almost the entire Almanach de Gotha, visited every royal court except that of China. Like every brilliantly successful court portraitist, he has had to be a diplomat as well as an artist. The Countess Greffulh is almost unique among his subjects in that she considered his painting of her   insufficiently lovely. [p] 

Immensely popular with his patrons, Artist de Laszlo is somewhat less admired by artists, who doubtless envy him his income. He can console himself for the slights of his confreres by reflecting on the fact that he is a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor; Knight of the Austro-Hungarian Order of the Iron Crown; Chevalier of the Order of Pius IX; Commander of the Order of Jesus Christ of Portugal; Commander of the Royal Spanish Order of Isabella La Catholica; Commander of the Hohenzollern House Order; Commander of the Royal Greek Savior Order; Commander of the (Swedish) Wasa Order; Grand Officer of the Crown of Italy; and equipped with medals, crosses, stars.  



de Laszlo with his painting of the  
5th marquess of lansdowne  
(photo ran with the article)

First Lady, Lou Henry Hover, 
wife of president Herbert Hoover, 
copy by Richard M. Brown
(image not part of the article)

By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2002 all rights reserved
Created 8/20/2002
Updated 08/22/2003